End of EI Temporary Measures

Employment and Social Development Canada has provided the following announcement:

The temporary measures to make Employment Insurance (EI) more accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic will end on September 24th.  After September 24th, EI regular and special benefits (like maternity, parental, compassionate leave, and sickness) will continue to be available to workers, just as they were before the pandemic, as will other supports such as the Canada Workers Benefit. 

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has been there to support workers who experienced job loss or temporary job stoppage because of the pandemic. When the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) ended, the government transitioned eligible Canadians to Employment Insurance benefits or the Canada Recovery Benefits. A set of temporary measures were put in place on September 27, 2020 to support this transition and facilitate access to the EI program for a one-year period. The Government also froze EI insurance premium rates for two years so Canadian workers and businesses would not face increases to payroll deductions when unemployment was at a historic highs.

Budget 2021 announced a suite of new EI temporary measures to support workers when the labour market was recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and work was scarce or sporadic. This new suite of temporary measures took effect on September 26, 2021 for a period of one year:

·         a 420-hour common entrance requirement for EI regular and special benefits, with a corresponding common earnings threshold for fishing benefits and a lower earnings threshold for self-employed workers registered for special benefit coverage

·         all insurable hours and earnings counting towards a claimant’s EI regular benefit eligibility and entitlement, as long as their last job separation in their qualifying period was found to be valid. This supported workers, including multiple job holders, as the recovery firmed up

·         allowing claimants to start receiving EI benefits sooner by simplifying rules around the treatment of severance, vacation pay, and other monies paid following a job separation

·         enhancements to the Work-Sharing Program that were introduced during the pandemic to ensure they remained available to support affected employers and workers

These temporary measures will end on September 24, 2022 and the EI program will return to regular rules.

The Government recognizes that Canada’s EI system needs to be fairer, more flexible, and more responsive to the needs of workers. Work is ongoing to modernize the EI program. This plan must be directly informed by the Canadians who use EI and are invested in its modernization, and that’s why the Government consulted with Unions, employers, workers and other partners. Budget 2021 also provided $5 million over two years to support these consultations. These consultations recently concluded on July 29, 2022. The Government is analyzing the input received from stakeholders and Canadians, along with lessons learned from the pandemic and the temporary measures, to inform a comprehensive plan for a modernized EI that meets the current and future needs of Canadian workers and employers.

More details on the regular rules for the EI program that will be in effect as of September 25, 2022 can be found at the following webpages:

·         EI Regular Benefits – What these benefits offer – Canada.ca

·         EI sickness benefits: What these benefits offer – Canada.ca

·         Caregiving benefits and leave – Canada.ca

·         EI Fishing benefits – Overview – Canada.ca

·         EI maternity and parental benefits: What these benefits offer – Canada.ca

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